Metric system

The author explains the fascinating history of the metric system in the middle of the row of imperial measures

30 May 2022, 12:11

Britain has used the metric system for “more than a century” – according to author James Vincent, amid a dispute over imperial measurements.

The government reportedly intends to change the law so that all products can be sold exclusively in Imperial, in a post-Brexit break from EU rules.

Appearing on James O’Brien’s LBC show, Mr. Vincent reviewed the history of imperial versus metric competition.

He commented: “The standardization of units of measurement has been absolutely essential to the functioning of states for as long as we have recorded history.

“The success of the metric system means that most nations agree on something, it’s a fantastic system.

“The metric system was invented during the French Revolution and was directly related to the political goals of the French revolutionaries.

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“It really spread with the Napoleonic conquests, it was something that was imposed at the end of a bayonet.

“The United States and the United Kingdom, despite all this palaver that we’re talking about now, they’ve actually been metrics for over a century.”

Mr. Vincent’s book, ‘Beyond Measure’, will be published on June 2.

As part of his research, the author spent time with anti-metric activists.

He explained: “I hung out with a group called Active Resistance to Metrification, they are clipboard fanatics.

“They like to go around the country removing the metric signs. They even remove them in the middle of the night or they replace the metric units with imperial units.”

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